Only 41% of Ukrainians try to protect their rights when violated, poll says

On the eve of the international Human Rights Day, sneak peek of a nationwide survey on human rights in Ukraine reveals perceptions, gaps, challenges and priorities to shape future human rights initiatives both at government and civic levels and increase awareness and protection of human rights across Ukraine.

574986r89jyu9u6Kyiv, 8 December 2016 – On the eve of the international Human Rights Day, the Ombudsperson's Office and the Human Rights Information Centre unveiled the key findings of their joint Human Rights Baseline Study, supported by UNDP in order to help Ukraine address the human rights challenges it faces.

This nationwide survey on human rights in Ukraine, carried out by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation among a representative sociological sample of 2,002 respondents across all territory of Ukraine, assesses the various levels of awareness and perceptions of human rights across Ukraine to serve as a basis for mapping out and prioritizing further human rights actions.

"Ukraine has been trying to address its human rights challenges over the years since independence, without a comprehensive baseline information on human rights awareness and perceptions. This does not allow for design of well-considered strategic interventions to increase human rights awareness and protection in the country," noted Blerta Cela, UNDP Deputy Country Director in Ukraine, in her welcome remarks.

Commenting on the report's findings, Valeria Lutkovska, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, added: "The main achievement of the survey is that it has produced, for the first time in Ukraine, a reliable set of findings about the state of human rights awareness among the Ukrainians."

31308973122 451b9fe380 oSurvey results show that the right to life is considered fundamental by 77% of people, followed by the right to social security (63%). More than half of respondents identify the right to housing (58%), right to education (57%) and the right to a fair trial (56%) as highly important human rights.

Worryingly however, only 41% of Ukrainians have tried to protect their rights when violated, and over half respondents consider doing justice themselves acceptable. Additionally, traditional and public instruments to defend human rights are considered less effective than attempts to break news in the media (27%), calling up on the European Court of Human Rights (19%) and seeking help from the family or useful contacts (16%).
On discrimination specifically, the study finds that 40% of polled people have come across cases of discrimination; age is regarded as the most widespread cause of discrimination by 37% of respondents, followed by discrimination based on disability (32%), wealth (24%), and sexual orientation (21%). However, 25% of people think that discrimination is not a severe problem in Ukraine.
31417589336 b058e11a8b oThe survey also covers topics such as trust towards human rights protection mechanisms and institutions and their perceived effectiveness, effectiveness of human rights information channels, levels of tolerance towards minority or vulnerable groups, to name but a few.

"UNDP in Ukraine invites all to take the survey's results to shaping human rights initiatives, responses and activities by revealing evidence on areas of improvement," Blerta Cela concluded.

Iryna Bekeshkina, Director of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Grygoriy Nemyrya, MP, Chair of the Parliament Committee for human rights, interethnic relations and national minorities, and Arkadiy Buschenko, Head of the Helsinki Human Rights Union, all contributed to the expert panel discussion on how Ukrainians perceive human rights issues.

The full study report will be presented in early 2017.